6 Techniques to Ignite Your Inner Creativity + Passion

On April 26 the Living section of Huffington Post carried the article, RONALD ALEXANDER, PH.D.: 6 Tools To Ignite Your Creativity And Passion. The article details how many of the greatest singers, dancers, painters, writers, and filmmakers recognize that the most original, and even transformative, ideas actually come from the core of our being, which is accessed through an “open-mind consciousness,” and prescribes six ways you can stimulate and tone your creativity. Theses six steps include, mindfulness meditation, dabbling in the arts, immersing yourself in nature, entering sacred space, seeking out creative stimulation and mindful movement. Couldn’t we all use a creative boost now + again?

Read the article and let us know what you do to give a boost to your creativity.

Inspiration – logo designers

Reading the recent posts about logo designs (and wow… Raymond Savignac‘s work is truly outstanding!), I started thinking about some other famous logo designers and their body of work. I have always been interested particularly in the work of Paul Rand, Saul Bass and Milton Glaser.  While researching the creative people behind some famous logos, I found interesting links to share from these three men…plus a book and links on a few others who have made their mark in design history. Enjoy!

Logo for ABC broadcasting, by Paul Rand

Paul Rand was one of the originators of the Swiss Style of graphic design. From 1956 to 1969, Rand taught design at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Rand was inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1972. He designed posters and corporate identities, including the logos for IBM, UPS and ABC.  I found this quote featured at Paul-Rand.com very telling:

According to graphic designer Louis Danziger“He almost singlehandedly convinced business that design was an effective tool. [. . .] Anyone designing in the 1950s and 1960s owed much to Rand, who largely made it possible for us to work. He more than anyone else made the profession reputable. We went from being commercial artists to being graphic designers largely on his merits.”

This isn’t a logo, but my love for mid-century modern has me loving so much of Rand’s work, particularly this:

Architectural Forum cover design by Paul Rand

Looks like I’ll be adding something else to my queue… a DVD documentary on Paul Rand.

I love NY by Milton Glaser.

I’ve definitely mentioned Milton Glaser here in this blog before, but it is hard not to bring him up again when talking about logo design.  Seriously, how familiar and iconic is the “I heart NY” logo above? Clean and memorable and direct.  It works!

I recently read a 2006 interview with Glaser in Metropolis Magazine and thought I’d share this excerpt I found insightful for new designers:

Milton Glaser:  “I would change the perception of the purpose of design that is deeply imbedded in design education. Because it’s linked to art, design is often taught as a means as expressing yourself. So you see with students, particularly young people, they come out with no idea that there is an audience. The first thing I try to teach them in class is you start with the audience.  If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you can’t talk to anybody.

Metropolis: So how is an audience different from a client?

Milton Glaser: “There are usually three participants: a client, a designer, and an audience. Each of them has different needs. What you hope to achieve is an integration of all those needs. The client needs to sell more of his biscuits; the designer wants to do something fresh and original that also sells his biscuits; and the audience wants to feel that what you tell them about the biscuits is significant and will move them to action.  So they’re three legs of the stool.  What you try to do is get a little bit for everybody. To some degree the reconciliation of ethics, beauty and purpose is just one thing. The game is how you reconcile what some may see as contradictory impulses and make that all come together in a singular response to the problem.” (Metropolis Magazine, 2006)

Visit Glaser’s website to find out more about him and his work.

Girl Scout Logo by Saul Bass (1978)

In one of my earlier posts this year, I was raving about Saul Bass’s design work in film opening credits;  incredible design and his well-known claim to fame.  He is also responsible for some iconic logos, including Bell Telephone, AT&T, Continental Airlines, Dixie and United Airlines.  In addition, Lawry’s Foods, Geffen Records, Quaker Oats and the YWCA – plus the Girl Scouts logo above.  Here’s an interesting article about how the Girl Scouts Logo was updated in 2010 by adding bangs. Hmm, really?!

Read this AIGA article on Saul Bass and this posting about his logo work then and now.

And if you are looking for a reference book on the topic of logo designers, the 1997 book Six Chapters in Design: Saul Bass, Ivan Chermayeff, Milton Glaser, Paul Rand, Ikko Tanaka, Henryk Tomaszewski features over 300 examples of works created by this venerable and talented group of modern designers.

These are just a few of the famous designers whose work I have admired over the years, but there are certainly many more worth checking out.  And I admit that I have a preference towards mid-century modern design history, so I need to look into contemporary logos and see whose handiwork is behind some of my current favorites.

Some more links to inspire your logo designs:

Famous Logo Designers in Graphic Design History

Logo Designers

Stories Behind Recent Logo Designs

Whose logo design work appeals to you?  What logos do you like?  Have I missed any great designers whom you love?

The Art of the Poster – the work of Raymond Savignac

Savignac Life magazine ad

Last week I posted a blog entry about logo design in which I noted my favorite logo design to be the “BIC Boy.” In the post I wrote a bit about the history of this iconic logo, noting that the original BIC® Boy was created by well-known French graphic designer, Raymond Savignac. At the conclusion of the post I promised a posting dedicated to this graphic artist. If you are unfamiliar with Savignac’s work, I hope this posting will educate you to a historical figure in the history of graphic design and his contributions to the art form.

Savignac in his studio - 1950s

Born in Paris in 1907, Savignac gained notoriety as the creator of numerous French advertising campaigns, including a famous one done for L’Oréal in 1948. Later, he began working with BIC, and in 1952 designed the Company’s very first advertising campaign: “elle court, elle court, la Pointe BIC®” (it runs, it runs, the BIC® point).

First BIC ad Savignac created

Savignac designed over 600 advertising posters and helped usher in a new age of optimism and consumerism in France after the end of the Second World War. His colorful and witty images for products such as Monsavon soap, Gitanes cigarettes, SNCF railways, Bic, Air France and Citroën cars came to embody the very idea of France to many foreigners.

Monsavon soap ad

Gitanes cigarette ad

SNCF Rail poster

another classic BIC ad

Air France


Over a fruitful career lasting 50 years, Savignac exhibited his work around the world and designed the official poster for the World Cup held in France in 1998. An advocate of the “less is more” approach, Savignac said, “Reading a poster must be instantaneous. In a fraction of a second, the man in the street must be able to understand it. Poster art is the creation of a fleeting image which people will not forget.”

Vespa, 1954

In 1948, Savignac teamed up with the graphic designer Bernard Villemot and created a distinctive campaign for Monsavon soap. The ironic and iconic poster depicting a pink-and-white cow and its udders dripping milk into a giant bar of soap instantly caught the public’s imagination. “I was born at the age of 41, from the udder of the Monsavon cow,” claimed Savignac.

The Savignac Monsavon-au-lait Ad

Savignac was subsequently hired to help sell everything from Maggi soups to Vérigoud soft drinks and Dunlop tires via Cinzano, shoe-polish and painkillers (his groundbreaking Vite Aspro poster simply showed city traffic driving through a man’s head).

Aspro ad "Aspirin headache"

Savignac was equally at ease drawing film posters (La Guerre des boutons, 1962, and Alexandre le bienheureux, 1967, for the director Yves Robert; Lancelot du Lac, 1974, and L’Argent, 1983, for Robert Bresson), advertising forthcoming appearances by popular French comedians (Maurice Baquet, Raymond Devos) or promoting national newspapers (Le Figaro, Il Giorno). In 1969, Savignac designed the set and the costumes for a production of Molière’s L’Avare at the Comédie-Française while his dynamic work full of visual puns also proved popular in Japan, the United States, Germany and Britain.

la-guerre-des-boutons poster

“A poster creates the illusion if not of happiness, then at least of comfort and ease,” he told interviewers. “It is optimism at its most absurd: no more indigestion, no more unrequited love.”

Savignac railed against modern-day advertising techniques and their over-reliance on photographs rather than the broad, brash strokes he had pioneered. In an interview with Le Monde newspaper in 1996, he called himself an old brontosaurus who does a job that no longer exists.


YouTube has a wonderful video that details the graphic design work of  Raymond Savignac. The video is about 10 minutes long but well worth the time. If you aren’t familiar with his work – you should be.

Many of Savignac’s posters can be found online here.

maggi pot au feu, 1960

Raymond Savignac died in Trouville-sur-Mer, France October 28, 2002.

What makes a great logo?

I was reading articles about logo trends: Mashable has a great one recently, and I was giving a lot of thought to what a logo for CreativeConsumption would look like? This got me thinking about the good and bad of logo design.

Logo design is undoubtedly one of most challenging aspects of graphic design. It may seem easy at first glance, but successful logos tend to have several characteristics in common. The features great logos share are:

  • simplistic
  • unique
  • relevant
  • memorable
  • focused

Here’s a brief example of each of these characteristics with well-known brand examples to illustrate the point.

1. Simplicity

Don’t over complicate your design. Simplicity is a good thing, and when in comes to design, less is definitely more.

2. Unique. In a world full of swooshes, arcs, leaves and other logo clichés, this is easier said than done. The Nike logo is a tick or correct mark, yet is instantly recognizable and unique.

3. Relevant. When you’re designing a logo, think about the appropriateness of the symbol or typefaces you use. The Lego logo uses bright primary colors and a child-friendly font – perfect for its intended audience.

4. Memorable. Your logo design is a visual representation of what the company stands for. The logo will often only receive a quick look, so it needs to make a fast impression.

5. Focused – use one idea to make the design special. The Fed Ex logo features an arrow between the letters E and X, representing the idea of moving parcels from place to another.

Do you have a favorite logo? I present mine below and encourage our readers to send us their favorites.

I thought I would share my favorite logo- the BIC product line logo. That’s the “BIC Boy.” Below, you can see an early illustration of the “BIC Boy”- he was originally drawn as a school boy, with a head in the shape of a ball, holding a pen behind his back. The BIC® logo is made up of two parts: The BIC® Boy + the three letters B I C, a shortened version of the family name of the company’s founder, Marcel Bich. Both of these elements appear in the traditional colors: orange + black.

The logo above dates back to 1950, when Marcel BICH launched his famous BIC® CRISTAL ballpoint pen, in Clichy, France, BIC’s logo was made up of the three letters « B I C » inside of a red parallelogram with rounded-off angles.

The BIC® Boy was created by well-known French graphic designer, Raymond Savignac, a wonderfully talented and prolific graphic designer. Look for a blog post about this artist next week!

Reply to this posting and let us know what logos you find compelling – good or bad and why. We always welcome and encourage the feedback of our readers.

UPDATE! 4-21-11

A Visual Identity posted a very timely blog entry on April 18, Getting The Right Logo For Your Business. It is a great read and reinforces a number of the principles outlined above. If you are interested in logo design at all, I seriously recommend investing the time and reading their posting.

The 2011 Cell Phone Photo Challenge – Submission Deadline is April 29!

This is a quick reminder to our readers that we are accepting photos in our Cell Phone Photo Contest through Friday,  April 29 at 5 pm EST.  If you missed the original post you can check it out and contribute to the debate – Is a Great Pic Possible with Your iPhone?

To date we have received more than 20 fabulous photos and entries will be posted on Monday, May 2.

The 2011 Cell Phone Photo Challenge – Details

I would like to see the great photos you’ve taken using your iPhone or Android cell phone and the help of a few photo applications. Since I have an iPhone, the  applications I like to use are: PhotoForge, PhotoStudio, MoloPix, CameraBag, Hipstamatic, Tilt Shift Generator and Pudding. They’re inexpensive and most of them have a free sample version so you can try before you buy.

Take some great photos with your cell phone’s camera, manipulate them (or not) with only applications found on the iPhone/Android and email them to us. Indicate which phone and what apps you used and we will post them in an online gallery – giving you full credit, of course. Photos will be posted beginning Monday, May 2. Winner will be chosen based on votes from our readers. Voting opens on Tuesday, May 3 and concludes on Friday, May 13 at 5 pm. Contest winner will be announced on Monday, May 16 in a blog post.

One winner will be chosen to receive an official UArts Continuing Studies District Threads Montezuma Messenger Bag! You can send your photos to us at creativeconsumptionpost@gmail.com!

Entries accepted through 5 pm, April 29.

Happy shooting!

Three Photo Contests You Should Know About

Digital Camera Magazine Photographer of the Year 2011

Digital Camera Magazine, one of the UK’s leading photography publications, is holding their annual photo contest in conjunction with the Royal Photographic Society. Last year was one of the strongest Photographer of the Year competitions to date, with thousands of images entered by photographers from all over the world. See the winning images for all categories and browse all the best of POTY 2010 photo galleries on PhotoRadar.

Photographer of the Year 2010 - Overall Winner, Jon Wright

There are 10 categories you can enter including Action and Movement, Creative License, Documentary, Fashion, Gardens and Plants, Travel, Landscape, Portrait and more. Prizes in each category include £1,500 ($2,451.84 USD) plus a one-year subscription to Digital Camera magazine, and the overall winner of the Photographer of the Year title will take home an additional prize worth £1,000 ($1,634.56 USD). There’s a  £10 ($16.35 USD) entry fee which allows you to submit up to 50 images. The competition is open for entries until 2 pm on September 30, 2011. Following this deadline, a final shortlist will be announced, followed by the category winners and an overall winner, as selected by their panel of expert judges.

Don’t forget the magazine’s sister website, PhotoRadar. It contains a wealth of inspirational images and helpful advice for improving your photography. You’ll even find a dedicated Digital Camera Photographer of the Year forum.

Smithsonian Magazine’s 9th Annual Photography Contest

Enter photographs in any of their five categories—Altered Images, Americana, the Natural World, People and Travel—and compete to win cash prizes as well as the opportunity to have your work printed in Smithsonian magazine and exhibited in the Smithsonian Institution. After reviewing the contest rules and list of frequently asked questions, you will be fully prepared to enter the contest.

The contest is open until December 1, 2011 at 2 pm EST. On a weekly basis beginning April 4, Smithsonian judges will post the best of the incoming entries in the Editors’ Picks portion of their website. Finalists will be announced on March 1, 2012. Good luck to everyone!
Read more

41st Annual National Wildlife Photo Contest

The National Wildlife Federation is holding their annual photography contest. New this year, you can share your entries online with friends and family, view all entries and vote online for the People’s Choice Award. There’s $20,000 worth of prizes including cash, iPads and more. This year the contest includes three different levels of competition: Professional, Amateur and Youth (children 13-17 years old.) Categories you can enter include Baby Animals, Backyard Habitats, Birds, Connecting People and Nature, Landscapes and Plant Life, Mammals and Other Wildlife. There are strict requirements as to what kind of images you can enter, so make sure you read the rules carefully. The deadline is July 14, 2011.

Parisian Street Fair @ the Avenue of the Arts – Sat Apr 30

Have you noticed the trapeze equipment in the lot across from the Kimmel Center?  Have you enjoyed a crepe under the Eiffel tower light show in the Kimmel Center plaza?  Now is the time to plan your schedule of events for PIFA (Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts) – so many great things to do and see!

The event that I’m most looking forward to attending, because I love outdoor street festivals and performances, is on the Avenue of the Arts as it is transformed into a Parisian street fair with French street vendors and performers, a grass park with a children’s area, musical entertainment all day long, and a giant Ferris Wheel.  All culminating with a breathtaking routine by La Compagnie Transe Express performing 100 feet in the air.

Saturday, April 30, 2011
Broad Street (Chestnut to Lombard)
11:00 am  – 8:30 pm


NPR Story Expands on Creative Consumption APPS Post

The front cover for A Present for Milo, a top children's book app from Ruckus Media Group. This and other kids' books apps are redefining the way children are reading.

For those who missed our earlier post,  By Land, Air and Sea presents their newest spelling iPad App “The Spellinguists,” now would be a perfect time to catch up on your reading before you proceed any further. For those of you who frequent our blog, you will remember that the post in question highlights the newest app for children developed by By Land, Air and Sea and CE faculty member Todd Mariani.  Interestingly, NPR produced a story on the March 29 broadcast of Morning Addition entitled, Children’s Book Apps: A New World Of Learning. The story brilliantly highlights the developing market for educational apps for children and makes the point that with tablets and smartphones taking over the market, children’s books have had to adapt. This is a new frontier for designers and developers with the keen talent to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

A screengrab from the Cat in the Hat app, from Oceanhouse Media.

Think it might be a good time to jump into the app design marketplace? (rhetorical question)

CE 4440 Building Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) with HTML5 will run on Tuesdays, 6:00 – 9:00 pm, Jun 7 – Aug 9. The course will be taught by Todd Mariani who has more than 10 years of experience as an interactive designer for financial, educational and not-for-profit institutions. He is Co-Founder of Reciprocal Press, a design studio specializing in media for education and architecture. Mariani received a BFA and MFA in Painting from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Post a comment and let us know what you think? Have you used any kid friendly apps? What children’s book would you like to see brought to life as an app?